General Question

Kraigmo's avatar

Some police departments pull over "good drivers" to give them gift certificates to local businesses. What if they smell marijuana?

Asked by Kraigmo (7802points) January 12th, 2018

It’s become a thing for some police departments to partner with local businesses to hand out gift certificates to good drivers. So yes, they pull over the “good driver” and give them a gift certificate.
But what happens if they smell marijuana?
Since there was no probable cause for a crime to begin with…. how would the police handle this?

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11 Answers

KNOWITALL's avatar

Some choose to ignore it. One officer told me that there are lots of other things they’d rather be doing than busting people for that.

Yellowdog's avatar

Agree with the above—but even a “good” routine traffic stop is still a means to uncover illegal activity. That’s why they stop so many for minor offenses or for giving gifts.

I’ve known police officers to simply ignore minor things awry unless the driver pisses them off.

gorillapaws's avatar

I don’t think any evidence they found would be admissible. See the Fruit of the Poisonous Tree.

Also I am not a lawyer, so I could be wrong.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Chances are they rescind your gift.

Patty_Melt's avatar

They don’t need probable cause to pull them over. That is a courtesy stop. What they need cause for is a search.
Smelling a suspicious odor is probable cause for search.
Mind blown; the burger eater nails it.

zenvelo's avatar

The premise of this thread is false. Somebody who is stoned is not going to get pulled over for being a good driver.

Patty_Melt's avatar

That is not true.
Stoned drivers are notoriously paranoid, and tend to be extremely careful driving.
So long as they don’t pass a billboard for pizza or Twinkies, you can’t tell.

zenvelo's avatar

@Patty_Melt Yep, that’s why they drive 20 mph on the freeway, and take two minutes to decide to go when the light turns green.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Parry got it. Regardless of the initial reason for the stop, the smell gives probable cause to ask for a search of the vehicle. If the driver denies, the officer can call in a K9 unit. If the K9 alerts on the vehicle, it can then be legally searched. Or, the officer can wait for a search warrant. Much less likely to happen though…

As mentioned above, marijuana is not as big a deal as it was. Many officers will let small amounts be destroyed by the possessing person. Like poured onto the side of the road. If the person is acting respectful, and being truthful, that goes a long way for some officers. If the person appears intoxicated, that will change things.

The “false premise” is wrong indeed. Many habitual users are not nearly as affected by the drug. They may appear, and act normal.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Tell that to my friend who was thrown in jail, had his jeep seized and now has a record because a cop found a roach in the floor during a routine stop. He was stone cold sober. Best I can tell is either a passenger dropped it or it was stuck to the bottom of his shoe. This guy is respectful and certainly would never back talk. Only thing he was guilty of was speeding.

The bottom line is while “most” cops won’t bother the single best defense is to limit your exposure to them as much as possible. You usually don’t know them well enough to trust someone with that amount of power. The way traffic laws are written there is always probable cause.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^I gave a guy a ride home one night, because he was drunk. When I dropped him off, he said he must have lost a small bag of weed in my back seat. I rifled through everything, but never found it. It made me nervous for years. That vehicle was eventually totalled.

It seems unlikely, but you can legitimately accidentally have an illegal substance in your vehicle that isn’t yours…

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